'India Should Play & Beat Pak In World Cup To Make Sure That They Don't Qualify': Sunil Gavaskar

| February 23 , 2019 , 20:30 IST

Veteran Indian batsman, Sunil Gavaskar stated that the team will comply with whatever decision the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) takes.

India- Pakistan are scheduled to play Pakistan on June 16 during the World Cup.

Speaking to media Gavaskar said, "Who wins if India decides against playing Pakistan in the World Cup? And I am not even talking about the semis and the finals. Who wins? Pakistan wins because they get two points."

Gavaskar further said, "India has so far beaten Pakistan every time in a World Cup, so we are actually conceding two points when by beating Pakistan, we could make sure that they don't advance in the competition."

"(But) I am with the country, whatever the government decides, I am with it totally. If the country wants we shouldn't play Pakistan, I am with them," he added.

The bilateral cricketing ties between the two countries have already been suspended since 2012 and the teams last played a full series in 2007.

"Where does it hurt Pakistan? It hurts them when they don't play a bilateral series against India. In a multi-country event, it's only Indian cricket team that's going to lose by not playing against them.

The entire matter needs to be looked at with a little more depth, I can understand emotions are running high.

"But what happens when you don't play them? I know India is strong enough side to qualify even after conceding those two points but why not beat them and make sure they don't qualify," argued Gavaskar.

If the BCCI takes the matter to the ICC, as is being speculated, and seeks Pakistan's ouster from the event starting from May 30 in England, it is more likely to lose, he said.

"They can try but it will not happen. Because the other member countries have to accept that and I don't see that happening. I am not too sure an ICC conference is a right forum," he said referring to the February 27 to March 2 ICC meetings in Dubai.

He said, "Sure all of us are absolutely down with what has happened, it is such a tragedy but I am not too sure this would work with the ICC. The other counties will say that this is an internal matter between the two countries and they have to deal with it and not involve us."

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Gavaskar urged Imran Khan to take the necessary "first step" towards improving ties with India.

"Let me speak directly to Imran Khan, someone who I have admired so much, who I think is a friend. "You said that 'India should take the first step and Pakistan will take two steps' but not as a politician, as an average sportsperson, I want to say to you that Pakistan is the one which should take the first step.

"You ensure there is no cross-border infiltration, you ensure that those in Pakistan who are creating problems in India are handed over, if not to India, then to the UN. You take those two steps and you see the number of friendly steps India will take," he said.